A native Californian, Chef Justin Snyder has returned to his roots by accepting the role of head chef at Barbareño, 205 West Canon Perdido Street.  At the age of 28, Justin has a wide breadth of experience working for some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs, such as Michael Voltaggio, Hideaki Sato, and Bruno Chemel.  Having honed his craft through work in places such as Hong Kong, Paris, and Hawaii, Justin is inspired to combine flavors from various ethnic cuisines with the freshest ingredients that Santa Barbara has to offer, all interpreted though the lens of a Michelin-trained chef.  Not afraid to push the limits, Justin is able to seamlessly marry modern cooking techniques with age-old methods to create dishes that are at once familiar, but at the same time completely novel and delicious.  At Barbareño, Justin seeks to further the restaurant’s mission of exploring the regional flavors of the Santa Barbara area, delving further into the culinary history, traditions, and ingredients of California’s Central Coast.  By using his extensive training, Justin hopes to bring a new level of creativity and refinement to the restaurant’s menu.



Last week I published an unconfirmed rumor from reader Bodie that Islands Restaurant signed a lease at La Cumbre Plaza. Below is an update to that story. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

Hi John,

Updating the Islands Restaurant news, the target delivery date of the leased space is mid-May, with a 150 day build out time frame – So we’re looking at an opening date of somewhere around mid-October.

– Bodie



The 25th annual Taste of Solvang is is here, starting today, Wednesday, March 15 through Sunday, March 19. Five new events have been added to the celebration this year. The Taste of Solvang Weekend Passport includes tickets to Sip + Savor Opening Night with VIP Access, Saturday’s Tasting Trail and Wine & Beer Walk plus Souvenir Wine Glass, Taste of Solvang Collectible Item, Taste of Solvang Map, Visitors Guide and Souvenir Tote all for $110 per person. Individual events are also available ala carte. All events are rain or shine and tickets are non-refundable. Advance purchase of event passports or ala carte tickets is highly recommended and details on all events are available at

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A familiar name is making a return. 3007 De la Vina Street, the one-time home of Mike’s Place and Steve’s Patio Café, which became Terraza Café in 2015, is newly remodeled and under new ownership, and, as of 3 weeks ago, is now known as The Patio Café. The restaurant will celebrate its “Launch & Brunch” event on Sunday, March 19, which includes samples from their menu, live music, and a glass of mimosa to toast the opening of The Patio Café. The restaurant is owned and operated by Rosalinda Monrroy, native to Santa Barbara. Monrroy has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years. “The Patio Café is a place where I’d like everyone to feel that they can come and sit down, and feel like they are not just eating at a restaurant, but eating at home, sitting comfortably in their own patio,” said Monrroy. “This place is not just for adults, but for  the entire family and friends. I would like to see my guests feel like they are coming to a familial environment where they can enjoy their time, laugh, and share memories over a meal.” The Patio Café serves freshly prepared entrees, daily soups, sandwiches, salads, specialties, and Sunday brunch. The business is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit

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  • Outpost at the Goodland, 5650 Calle Real in Goleta, will be offering $5 Guinness all night on St. Patrick’s Day, and all weekend-long. Chef Bajal will also be serving Irish-inspired bites to accompany.
  • Hollister Brewing Co. at 6980 Marketplace Drive in Goleta is having a St. Patrick’s Day special: Leek, Potato & Bacon Soup (Bowl $6.50, Cup $4.50), Corned Beef & Cabbage $14, and Shepherd’s Pie $13.50.
  • Wildwood Kitchen at 412 East Haley Street is serving homemade corned beef brisket for St. Patrick’s Day.
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This just in from John Bennett, owner of Brophy Bros. 119 Harbor Way:

“We are closed until March 20th for floor repairs and minor upgrades. Our Clam Bar and On The Alley are both still open to server our loyal customers. We appreciate your patience and are looking forward to a busy summer.”

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Reader Steve H. tells me that August Ridge Vineyards is opening in about a month at 5 East Figueroa Street, in La Arcada Court, the former home of Isabella Gourmet Foods which moved to the Antioch building at 602 Anacapa Street. I’m told that August Ridge Vineyards, based in Paso Robles are specialists in Italian wines. Visit

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Reader Primetime spotted a sign at Mesa Cafe, 1972 Cliff Drive, offering St. Patrick’s Day specials the weekend of March 17-19, including Homemade Irish Lamb Stew $17.95, Corned Beef & Cabbage $17.95, Irish Coffee $6, Green-Mosa $6 and Green Beer $4.25. Call 966-5303.

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Local food trucks could soon be a thing of the past if a new zoning ordinance is passed. Reader Primetime says the a battle is underway between food trucks and the Santa Barbara planning commission. A new ordinance will make it illegal for food trucks to park on private property even if they have an agreement with the property owner. Burger Bus owners Michael and Cheryl Gardner are calling it quits after an 8 year presence in Santa Barbara because they say food trucks are being forced out of  business. View the video story on KEYT. View my column on the subject from December 2015.



Pi Day is celebrated each year on March 14, to commemorate the irrational number of 3.141592653. Blaze Pizza which has South Coast locations at 3925 State Street and 6546 Pardall Road in Isla Vista, will celebrate by offering $3.14 whole pizzas all day, and at all their nearly 200 locations on March 14. Originally imagined as an unconventional “pop-up” event three years ago, Blaze’s Pi Day celebration has become a fan favorite and annual tradition for the company, and this year they expect to serve close to 250,000 pizzas on Pi Day. The Isla Vista location had a line going down the street from the moment they opened on Pi Day last year.

The company’s Pi Day event will also include special “behind-the-scenes” coverage on Facebook Live and Snapchat, with guests tuning in to watch the celebration live and for the opportunity to win free pizza. A special Snapchat filter will also let guests share the Pi Day love with their followers that day. “Math can sometimes be complex, but we think pizza should be simple,” said Jim Mizes, president and COO. “That includes serving fresh, never-frozen dough that’s made in-house daily, using just a few simple ingredients. Because simple ingredients simply taste better.”

Some fun facts about Pi Day: In 2009 the US government recognized March 14 as National Pi Day. Pi, or π, is defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. March 14 is also Einstein’s birthday. The first organized Pi Day was in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium.

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This just in from reader Bodie:

Hi John, I received word today from someone in their corporate office that Islands Restaurant just signed a lease to open up a restaurant in La Cumbre Plaza.  Construction is scheduled to get underway shortly.  I’ll let you know when I have an anticipated opening date.



Reader Brendan says that an alcohol license application has appeared in the window of the vacant restaurant space at 422 North Milpas Street, formerly occupied by Altamirano’s. The applicants listed are “Orman, Misty Nicole & Ristaino, Brandon” and the business type is “On-sale general eating place”, but the business name is just given as “TBD”.



The Santa Barbara Wine Collective (131 Anacapa Street) has teamed with Helena Avenue Bakery to offer “Toast” Tuesdays, which starts March 7. Chef Bryan Foehl presents three crostinis prepared on toasted Helena Avenue baguette and topped with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Each toast is paired with a wine from the Santa Barbara Wine Collective’s member producers. The starting lineup for March features crostinis of Roasted Berries, Goat Cheese, Pink Peppercorn & Micro Greens paired with 2014 The Paring Sauvignon Blanc; Eggplant Confit, Spicy Coppa & Micro Chervil paired with 2013 Fess Parker ‘Rodney’s’ Syrah; and Burrata, Pesto & Tomato Jam paired with 2013 Grevino Dolcetto. Pairings are seasonal and change weekly. Pricing is $15 for each flight. RSVPs are recommended, please send to or call 456-2700.

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Reader Primetime tells me that 3 new restaurants are coming to Highway 246, east of McMurray, in Buellton: The Habit, Chipotle and Panda Express. The new Buellton Habit may still be under the ownership of the Reicherts, who retained ownership of Habit restaurants in Santa Barbara County. Margerum Winery in Buellton is now open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. for wine tasting. They have had a tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara for over 6 years but this is the first time guests will be able to enjoy a tasting in Margerum’s working winery.



Management at Cadiz at 509 State Street tells me that they are having their floors cleaned so the interior may look a little different if you happen to be walking by.

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Reader Primetime tells me that Wayne Kjar has sold Your Cake Baker to Karine and Matthieu Hervouet, and that Chooket  is a new name associated with the business, but I think the name Your Cake Baker is still being used. Here is a message from the owners:

Hi John. I’m Karine, the new french owner of the bakery “Your cake Baker” located in the Mesa shopping center. I’m the owner since 3 month, and my husband and me created a new partner CHOOKET THE KINGDOM OF CREAM PUFF. ( I contact you very late, but I just want to invite you for our grand opening tomorrow Friday,  March 3rd at 4 pm. It will be an honor for my company to meet you! Your blog is famous to France! Have a great day.



Reader Brendan says that a sign on the door says a place called “Foxtail” will be coming to 14 East Cota Street, the former home of American Ale, Little Cantina, El Taco Tequila Taqueria, and Square One. I first reported something about this in January.



Los Arroyos at 14 W. Figueroa Street is celebrating its 18-year anniversary on Saturday March 4th and will have discounts and giveaways all weekend.

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Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants (available locally at 1213 State Street, 3325 State Street and 7034 Marketplace Drive, Goleta) has launched their 7th annual March “Month of Giving” fundraising campaign where donations go to Operation Gratitude and City of Hope, which supports 150 different charities including hospitals, youth organizations, food banks and more. During the month of March, customers can make donations at local Jersey Mike’s. The campaign will culminate in a “Day of Giving” on Wednesday, March 29, when 100 percent of the day’s sales is donated – every single dollar that comes in.

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Here is a list of area eateries that have closed in the last year:

  • January 2017: Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, 1031 State St.; American Ale, 14 East Cota St.; OTaco, 6530 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista (now Lao Wang); Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar, 5764 Calle Real, Goleta
  • December 2016: Hungry Cat, 1134 Chapala St. (now Bar 29)
  • November 2016: Ahi Sushi, 3631 State St.; Globe, 18 E. Cota St. (now 18East); Julienne, 138 E. Canon Perdido St.; Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop, 503 State St. (now Hana Kitchen)
  • October 2016: Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen, 718 State St.; Montecito Café, 1295 Coast Village Rd, Montecito; Ralphs, 2840 De la Vina St.
  • September 2016: Alchemy Spa and Café, 430 Chapala St.; Georgia’s Smokehouse, food truck; Relais de Paris, 734 State St.
  • August 2016: Coffee Cat, 1201 Anacapa St.; India House, 418 State St.; Petrini’s, 5711 Calle Real, Goleta
  • July 2016: Cielito, 1114 State St. (now Viva Santa Barbara); India Club, 5701 Calle Real, Goleta (now Nikka Ramen); Yankee Noodle, 214 State St. (now American Ale 02)
  • June 2016: Le Petit Bistrot, 532 State St.; Sam’s To U, 5979 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • May 2016: Cafe Int’L, 5664 Calle Real, Goleta; Subway, 3613 State St. (now Miso Hungry)
  • April 2016: Jimmy John’s, 909 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista; Seagrass, 30 E. Ortega St. (now Oveja Blanca); Taqueria El Pastorcito, 2009 De la Vina St.
  • March 2016: Book Ends Café, 602 Anacapa St. (now The Honey B Café); Mexican Fresh Taqueria, 315 Meigs Rd. (now Mesa Burger)
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A French Mediterranean Restaurant Bar known as The Little Door has opened across the street from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse at 129 East Anapamu Street, the former home of Piano Riviera Lounge and Elements Restaurant & Bar. The Little Door’s flagship location in West Hollywood at 8164 West 3rd Street was voted “Most Romantic Restaurant in L.A.” in 2016 based on an OpenTable survey. The Little Door’s Facebook page describes the business as follows: “Santa Barbara invites you to enjoy our new menu inspired by the atmosphere and eclecticism of French Mediterranean kitchen. We bring together harmonious dishes & the right musical ambiance, overlooking the breathtaking Sunken Garden to please all your senses. Come along and enjoy a unique dining experience & celebrate Santa Barbara’s ‘Joie De Vivre’ with us!” The Little Door is open daily 4:30-10 p.m. and closed on Sundays. Call 560-8002 or visit



Goa Taco is coming to 718 State Street, the former home of Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen, Killer B BBQ,  Kozmo’s, California Crisp, and Fat Burger. Owner and Chef Duvaldi Marneweck, a South African native, opened his first location in New York City in 2014. Within 2 years, in a tiny (230sqf) store front, Goa had made acclaimed publications such as Critics’ Pick of the New York Times and New York Magazine, and the “100 best dishes and drinks in NYC 2015” (Time Out). A second location opened in Los Angeles. Goa Taco offers paratha tacos, with on-site coal-roasted Berskhire pork belly, pickled red cabbage and chipotle mayo. A paratha is a flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent and is still prevalent throughout Pakistan and India. Visit



This just in from 18East restaurant at 18 E. Cota Street:

“18East is proud to present another fabulous POP-Up Friday 02/24 & Saturday 02/25 6-10 pm. Bueno Onda will be featuring Argintinian flavors, empanadas, fresh farm salads  and of course small plates with Chimichuri . Also for those music lovers DJ Chadilac Green will be spinning Hip-Hop R&B and a little house music Friday night 9-11ish and if you didn’t know he is also the featured artist. If your looking for a fun fresh vibe stop by 18East Cota.”

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“When will our local Habits start serving the Golden Chicken Sandwich?! (Fresh, filleted chicken breast, hand-breaded with house-made seasoned flour and buttermilk, cooked to a juicy golden brown and topped with creamy, spiced red pepper sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles) It is available at every Habit in the country except for the ones in Santa Barbara/Goleta. Sad!”



Here is a list of area eateries that have opened in the last year:

  • February 2017: Lao Wang, 6530 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista; Tahgonadas, 1014 State St.
  • January 2017: Bar 29, 1134 Chapala St.; HiWi Tropical Fusion, 6555 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista
  • December 2016: 18 East, 18 E. Cota St.; Blaze Pizza, 3925 State St.; Mesa Burger, 315 Meigs Rd.; Somerset,7 E. Anapamu St.
  • November 2016: Nikka Ramen, 5701 Calle Real, Goleta; Red Kettle Coffee, 2275 Ortega Hill Rd, Summerland
  • October 2016: The Honey B, 602 Anacapa St.; Phoevermore, 1017 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria
  • September 2016: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Loquita, 202 State St.; Pickles & Swiss, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta; PokeMee, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • August 2016: Pieology, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Pizza Man Dan’s, 699 Linden Ave., Carpinteria; Sprouts Farmers Market, 175 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta; Vons, 2010 Cliff Dr.
  • July 2016: American Ale 02, 214 State St.; Convivo at Santa Barbara Inn, 901 East Cabrillo Blvd.; Corazón Cocina, 38 W. Victoria St.; Drunken Crab, 416 State St.; Helena Avenue Bakery, 131 Anacapa St.; Nona’s Deli, 415 E. De la Guerra St.; Viva Santa Barbara, 1114 State St.
  • June 2016: Angel Oak at the Bacara Resort, 8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Dunkin Donuts, 3771 State St.; Rusty’s Pizza, 111 State St.; The Nugget, 5096 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria
  • May 2016: Le Petit Bistrot (now closed), 532 State St.; Little Kitchen, 17 West Ortega St.; Nook, 120 Santa Barbara St.; Phamous Café, 7127 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Smart & Final Extra!, 3943 State St.; Zizzo’s Coffeehouse & Brew Pub, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • April 2016: Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, 6530 Seville Rd., Isla Vista; Jane, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta; Oveja Blanca Restaurante, 30 E. Ortega St.
  • March 2016: 805 Kabob, 6578 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista; Fire & Ice Cafe, 971 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista; Hana Kitchen, 503 State St.; Santa Ynez Burrito, 956 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista; Smart & Final Extra!, 850 Linden Ave., Carpinteria
  • February 2016: Green Table 113 W. De la Guerra St.; La Bella Rosa Bakery, 7127 Hollister Ave.#18, Goleta; Pascucci, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta; Rusty’s Pizza, 5934 Calle Real, Goleta; Taqueria El Pastorcito, 4427 Hollister Ave., Noleta; The French Press, 250 Storke Rd., Goleta; Yankee Noodle 214 State St. (now closed)
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Reader Rebecca tells me that The Little Door at 129 East Anapamu Street (formerly Piano Riviera Lounge and Elements Restaurant & Bar) is having staff rehearsals over the next few days. It sounds like they might be up to speed by the end of the week.

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Lao Wang Asian Street Food restaurant has upgraded and relocated to the heart of Isla Vista on 6530 Pardall Road, the former home of Otaco, Angry Wings, Chino’s Rock & Tacos, Eclectic I.V., China Garden and Kung Pao Kitchen. They were open last year in Old Town Goleta from April to December. You can chose to create your own noodle bowls with over 15 topping options or you can enjoy noodle bowls created specially by the owners. If you’re just looking for a light snack, Lao Wang offers french fries, popcorn chicken or their classic buns. Dine inside and watch sports games or choose to sit outside and enjoy our (usually) perfect weather. Follow Lao Wang on Instagram (@laowangstreetfood) for updates on when they get their 18 craft beers on tap. Lao Wang is open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Call 845-1614.

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Readers tell me that a new business named Tangonadas has opened at 1014 State Street that serves empanadas and other goodies, along with coffee and tea. This address has not been the home of a restaurant for as long as I have been tracking the local dining scene.



This just in from Warren Butler, owner of Butler Event Centers:

“Hi John,

The High Sierra Grill at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta is under new management. I have taken over as of January 1st as the Managing Partner. This is a great opportunity to utilize my vast experience in the hospitality industry which will be put to good use in enhancing not only the restaurant side of the business but also the entertainment and special events capabilities.

We have already made improvements to the menu, Happy Hour and live music programs. Come on down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or our noon to 6:30 p.m. Happy Hour. Don’t forget about our Sunday all-you-can-eat brunch. We have instituted a new fast track lunch menu for those on a time limit. Enjoy live entertainment on Friday night, Saturday night, and  Sunday day with Tri Tip sandwich specials.

If your readers mention The Restaurant Guy and they will get 20% off their food bill now through the month of March! I guarantee everyone will have a great experience.

– Warren Butler”



Reader Fay says that paper has been put up in the windows at the former home of Sam’s To U at 5979 Hollister Avenue (at Fairview) in Goleta.

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